The purpose of this study was to examine child, maternal, and family
antecedents of children's early affect dysregulation within the
mother–child relationship and later cognitive and socioemotional
correlates of affect dysregulation. Children's affect
dysregulation at 24 and 36 months was defined in the context of
mother–child interactions in semistructured play and toy cleanup.
Dyads were classified as dysregulated at each age based on high
negative affect. Affect dysregulation was associated with less maternal
sensitivity and stimulation, more maternal depressive symptoms, and
lower family income over the first 36 months of life. Children with
early negative mood, lower Bayley Mental Development Index scores and
insecure-avoidant (15 months) or insecure-resistant attachment
classifications (36 months) were more likely to be in an
affect-dysregulated group. Controlling for family and child variables,
affect-dysregulated children had more problematic cognitive, social,
and behavioral outcomes at 54 months, kindergarten, and first grade.
The findings are discussed in terms of the early role played by parents
in assisting children with affect regulation, the reciprocal nature of
parent–child interactions, and the contribution of affect
regulation to children's later cognitive, social, and behavioral
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